Sauerkraut

41.

A friend of mine made some cheese the other week and had a great deal of whey left over. So I, being the crazy person I am, decided to make something with it. And so: Sauerkraut.

And now it's sauerkraut

This post is a little less academic than some of the ones I’ve been doing because it was a spur of the moment project.

So for more background I’ll recommend you go take a look at Stefan’s Florilegium. What they have discussed there is that we have lots of references to Sauerkraut from the 16th century in Germany: Ein New Kochbook has some recipes that call for it and Baecker, Brot und Getreide in Augsburg references it being sold at the market; in addition Scappi mentions salted or brined cabbage being exported from Germany. Finally, as early as 1485 Kuchenmeysterey apparently mentions sauerkraut in passing.

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Formed Fish

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image

Montengarde Culinary Group’s April theme is April Fools. My wife (Kayleigh de Leis) is cooking for it this month and she asked me to find the apple pie in the shape of a fish recipe we had been meaning to make for so long.

For this we’re going to the Netherlands via Gent KANTL 15 also known as Nyeuwen Coock Boeck from 1560. Many thanks to Christianne Muusers the person behind Coquinaria for translating the recipe.

1.63. To make stuffing for formed fish when it is not Lent
For four ground apples, take two or three raw eggs, two ground cooked eggs, a small handfull of ground almonds and some melted butter. Take spices, sugar and a little saffron as follows. With this stuff the formed fish and then colour it and let it bake in the oven for about half an hour.

1.64. To make formed fish during lent and also calf ears
Crush in a mortar five or six apples, peeled and cored. Add sugar, ginger and cinnamon, and add some pound almonds or toasted gingerbread with some saffron. Bake this in oil. Or make a big fish: bake this in the oven, painted and with some holes in it.

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cooking down the cheese

Caws Pobi

38.

You can call it caws pobi, cause boby, or even Welsh rarebit or Welsh rabbit. It’s the same thing. It’s the food spoken of in 1542 by Andrew Boorde: “I am a Welshman, I do love cause boby, good roasted cheese.” (Fyrst Boke of the Introduction of Knowledge, 1542). There are earlier references to it, but by the 15th and 16th century it was essentially the Welsh national dish (First catch your peacock: The classic guide to Welsh food, B. Freeman, 1996, p. 31). It even shows up on a list of dishes presented in the late 15th century at Pembroke Castle by the Earl Marshal (likely Henry Tudor before becoming king):

Ballock broth, Caudle ferry, Lampreys en galentine, Oysters in civey, Eels in sorré, Baked Trout
Brawn with mustard, Numbles of a hart, Pigs y-farsed, Cockentryce
Goose in hogepotte Venison en frumenty, Hens in brewet, Squirrels roasted
Haggis of sheep, Pudding de capon-neck, Garbage, Trype de mouton, Blaundesorye, Caboges, Buttered worts
Apple muse, Gingerbread, Tart de fruit, Quinces in comfit
Essex cheese, Stilton cheese, Causs boby

(Mediaeval Pageant, J.R. Reinhard, 1939, p. 42)[emphasis mine]

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Daryoles

37.

Pi Night spread

Pi Night spread

As Culinary Night is on March 14th this year we’re celebrating Pi day. In honor of that I’m making Daryoles. There’s some debate about this with some saying it’s a type of proto-quiche and others that it’s a proto-custard. I’m in the proto-custard camp myself.

Daryoles show up in English culinary books early,  1390s early. But by the 17th century they are synonymous with small custards, and by the 19th century they refer to a specialized mould for making custards.

In favour of the proto-quiche side there is cheese and meat in several of the dishes. But as you will see the major factor seems to be the sweetness.

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Medieval Bacon

Update April 2018: I went back and reworked the entirety of this for Kingdom A&S. You can see the documentation here:Pre-17c Bacon and photos here.

35. 36.

 

A friend of mine jokes that I beat her in an A&S competition because I bribed the judges with bacon. Well I’m a fan of bacon (though not to the extent of the bacon craziness of two years ago) but I’ve always just used a thick cut good quality bacon from the butchers. When it was announced that February’s Montengarde Culinary Group meeting was going to be all about dishes with bacon or pork my wife suggested that I try making bacon.

So, medieval bacon.

This is an interesting one because we don’t have a whole lot of period info about how they made bacon.

Because this is such a long post I’m giving a basic summary here.Bacon

Essentially I couldn’t find any proof for smoked bacon until the very end of the 16th century. Instead the defining feature was that it was salt cured and dried. Smoke was likely an option but the concerns around the heat from the smoke making the fat of
the bacon turn rancid seem to have kept it from being the main method as it is now. Cold-smoking could have been done but only if they were using nitrites as well.

I’m using a recipe based on combining what I found pre-1600 with the 18th century recipes. The end result is a very salty bacon that should taste very very similar to what Medieval and Renaissance bacon would taste like. The addition of sugar, though likely a post period innovation, is used to cut the saltiness. Nitrites are used because most of the secondary sources mention it, for the food safety, as well as because it is heavily used by the time the first actual recipes show up; combining that with its availability at the time and I’m going to call its use plausible.

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Syrup of Pomegranates

34.

And a third and final recipe inspired by this month’s Montengarde Culinary Group’s meeting.

While looking for a “light” recipe or one that made me think of warmer climates I decided on Andalusia. Southern Spain sounded warm to me and during the time period it would have been very exotic as well, being one of the main connecting points for Muslim Africa and Christian Europe.

This recipe was chosen mostly for my son who has decided that he loves pomegranates (pomegranate candy as he calls it).

Today’s recipe is from An Anonymous Andalusian Cookbook of the 13th Century as translated by Charles Perry. The cookbook is originally known as Kitab al-Tabeekh fi ‘l-Maghrib wa ‘l-Andalus fi ‘Asr al-Muwahhidin or Cookbook of Al-Maghrib and Andalusia in the era of Almohads (Writing Food History: A Global Perspective)

Syrup of Pomegranates

Take a ratl of sour pomegranates and another of sweet pomegranates, and add their juice to two ratls of sugar, cook all this until it takes the consistency of syrup, and keep until needed. Its benefits: it is useful for fevers, and cuts the thirst, it benefits bilious fevers and lightens the body gently.

It’s a fairly straightforward recipe. A few points need to be added though.

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Fried Spinach

33.

This month’s Montengarde Culinary Group night is themed “In the Bleak Midwinter”

 “In the Bleak Midwinter” theme – cook period dishes that remind you of warmer times or are from warmer places! No comfort food here – let’s see your vegetables, sallets, light desserts, and the like!

So with that in mind I was looking at spinach pie again, but then I got thinking – I wonder what other spinach recipes there are, maybe something simple, with a few ingredients, and something old, a base concept that gets reused later in other dishes.

So with that in mind it’s time for Fried Spinach.

Today’s recipe comes from Forme of Cury from 1390 England as reproduced in 1780.

Untitled

 

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Spinach Tart

32.

I was doing the prep work on January’s Culinary Group and I realized I never posted the Spinach Tart. Now this is an easy dish we usually use for potlucks. It’s fast, takes very little time to make, and everyone loves it. We’ve done it as a big tart, we’ve done it as individual tarts, we’ve even done it gluten free.

We originally found the recipe at Medievalcookery.com and went back to the source then worked from there, but we have also made it the way Daniel Myers described and it’s just as good.

The recipe is from one of my go-to cook books Le Menagier de Paris as translated by Janet Hinson.

TO MAKE A TART, take four handfuls of beet-leaves, two handfuls of parsley, one handful of chervil, a bit of turnip-top and two handfuls of spinach, and clean them and wash them in cold water, then chop very small: then grate two kinds of cheese, that is one mild and one medium, and then put eggs with it, yolk and white, and grate them in with the cheese; then put the herbs in the mortar and grind them up together, and also add to that some powdered spices. Or in place of this have first ground up in the mortar two pieces of ginger, and over this grate your cheeses, eggs and herbs, and then throw in some grated old pressed cheese or some other such on to the herbs, and carry to the oven, and then make it into a tart and eat it hot.

 

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